Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Gov.Martin O'Malley, said her boss has heard about the proposal and finds it "intriguing" but is withholding judgment until the PSC finishes its review. A spokesman for the commission did not respond to a request for comment.
Frustration with the utilities and state regulations has been bipartisan. Earlier this month, Republican Rep.Roscoe G. Bartlettcriticized O'Malley and state regulators for a state policy that allows utilities to levy a small fee on customers even while they lacked electricity.
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Baltimore County Democrat, said he was also frustrated by long outages, but he did not go as far as Van Hollen. The former Baltimore County executive said government needs to study why some communities seem to have more reliable electricity.
"It's a bigger issue than just burying power lines," said Ruppersberger, who said he lost power for two to three days this month. "We have to, from a national and a state and local point of view, come up with a plan so that every time there's a storm we don't lose power."